Monday, August 1, 2011

How accurate is the weather forecast?

This is not a scientific analysis.  Just my own observations.  This afternoon's forecast as I found it on proved to be incredibly accurate.  About 4 pm I could see the end of the day's "to do" list coming and clouds outside of my window.  The day was ripe for T-storms and I assumed they were bearing down on the area.  So I called up the details to try and figure out if I should leave quickly or plan to sit tight for a while and let them pass.  The radar map showed a cluster north and another cluster skirting just south, but also showed I'd could expect a clear path all the way home if I left promptly.  The dark clouds outside my window were the cell that would move south.

So I wrapped up the work stuff and headed out with an eye on the sky.  Those southern storms looked awfully close.  CRACK!  The first thunder sounded just as I clipped in, then a few rain drops.  And that was it.  I could see the southern storms and hear occasional thunder the whole way home.  When I got a flat at Burns Crossing and MD 175 the southern storm looked even more ominous and the thunder continued to encourage me to change that tube quickly. (Did I mention I live south of the office so I had to head towards the southern cell the whole time).


When I got home, I looked up the radar map that showed the recent history (as opposed to the forecast) and it looked nearly identical to the forecast I recalled before I left work. The cell to the south tracked exactly as forecast, close but no rain on Mike's one-bike parade.

I just find it incredible that the convergence of meteorology and communications technology (The Internet) have come together to give us such a complete picture, literally, of what to expect for a 6 - 12 hour time horizon, and it's all just a few clicks away.  Remarkable.

Here's the route I took home.  I stretched it a little further down Burns Crossing before turning for home to get in 40 miles on the day.  That will be a key number for a while. More on that in another post.

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